My saggy skin a holiday turn-off

My husband and I are both in our 60s now, and every year in May, we go over to stay with his relatives in Cyprus for a month. It’s very much a beach holiday, which I’ve always loved, as I love swimming in the Med, and love the sunshine, and of course, all the brilliant Greek food at beach-side tavernas.

But for the last few years, it hasn’t been quite the same, and I know it’s my fault. It’s something I daren’t talk about to anyone, because it’s so stupid, but it’s getting me down so much this year that it’s casting a shadow over the holiday.

It’s that although we love each other madly, still, after 40 years of marriage, I’m jealous of his body. I bet you’re laughing. That’s why I’ve never told him, or anyone else.

The fact is that I’ve always been rather proud of my face and figure. I take care of myself, go to the gym, used to run a beauty salon. But I’m slim, and that brings costs. In my case the cost is that every part of my body is sagging downwards. My husband, though, although he carries a little more weight than I do, has the same wonderful body he had 30 years ago, apart from just a hint of a tummy. Facially, he’s sagged just a bit, and has some slight jowls – but my face has just sunk.

I don’t have major wrinkles, but I have jowls, and even my inner eyelids are drooping. My arms went first. It looks as if I have Austrian blinds for skin. But my legs are going the same way. I’m starting to get quite embarrassed about it, especially when we make love, because I can’t bear the sight of myself any more.

The holiday terrifies me. You can’t wear a long-sleeved swimsuit, or one which covers your legs. The other issue is that all his female relatives, and his brothers’ wives, were all very plump. Now that seems to be protecting them from the sagging and drooping. They look fine, and can even wear short sleeves, something I haven’t done for years. A friend of mine had cosmetic surgery to remove the sagging flesh from her arms and legs, but it was a disaster, and left her with massive scars, so I don’t want to go down that route.

I just feel angry about the way I’m growing old, and angry with my husband for looking so good. Please, can you help me to enjoy my holiday without these nagging fears, and this jealousy of the man I love?

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Barbara says: If it helps, us thin Lizzies do tend to get this problem as we age. The reason is we don’t have as good a collagen layer as we should have. It disintegrates and won’t plump our flesh out as we get older. It just disappears, and our larger sisters have their layer of fat to plump out their skin.

Men don’t have that collagen layer as a starter, and therefore if the minimal layer they have starts to give up, it’s compensated for by muscle. So yes, in some ways men’s bodies age more successfully than women’s (although often their hairline doesn’t). But you know – who cares?

Let it all hang out (or droop down)! In your 60s and happily married, getting hung up about your body isn’t good. And one thing I know for certain is that your husband will always see you as the beautiful young girl he married. So be that girl!